Australia lost three early wickets to Sri Lanka’s spinners before Steven Smith and Adam Voges steadied the ship with the visiting side in all kinds of trouble in their attempt to chase down the target of 268 in a low-scoring thriller of a first Test in Pallekele.
Australia was placed at 83 for 3, with Smith unbeaten on 26, when bad light forced the umpires to call tea early on the fourth day in Pallekele on Friday (July 29). No play was possible after that either as the light only worsened, and the match that has been hit by rain and bad light on all four days so far lost even more playing time.
Neil Wagner picked up six wickets with his left-arm seam as New Zealand bowled Zimbabwe out for 164 and grabbed the advantage on the opening day of the first Test at Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo, on Thursday (July 28).
Kusal Mendis struck a magnificent maiden century on Thursday (July 28), as Sri Lanka fought its way back into contention in the first Test against Australia. By the time bad light brought an early end to the proceedings for a third consecutive day a little after tea, Sri Lanka had opened up a lead of 196 runs in Pallekele.
Ireland have been handed a major boost with the return to the squad from injury of Niall O’Brien and Craig Young for the KPC Group ODI series against Pakistan next month.
O’Brien (calf) and Young (elbow) missed the drawn Afghanistan series along with Boyd Rankin, but all three are now available for the clashes at Malahide.
The Netherlands will strive to make the most of home advantage when it runs into Afghanistan in the four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup clash beginning at The Hague on Friday (July 29).
The Netherlands is currently second on the points table with 46 points, 14 points behind table-topper Ireland and five points ahead of Afghanistan, which occupies the third place with 41 points, after each of the eight teams has played three matches apiece.
Rain brought an early end to play for the second consecutive day in the first Test between Sri Lanka and Australia in Pallekele on Wednesday (July 27).
The top position in the ICC Intercontinental Cup will be up for grabs when the Netherlands and Afghanistan will feature in a crucial league match at The Hague on Friday.
The four-day first-class competition is an integral part of the cricket schedule for sides below the 10 Test playing countries and is a pathway to Test cricket. The winner will take on the 10th-ranked Test team in an ICC Test Challenge in 2018. If the ICC Intercontinental Cup winner wins the ICC Test Challenge, then it will secure Test status until the next ICC Test Challenge, which will take place in 2022.
Zimbabwe will take on New Zealand in the first game of a two-Test series at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo from Thursday (July 28). The series will mark the comeback of Bulawayo as a Test venue for the first time since November 2011, when the home team had suffered a 34-run defeat at the hands of Ross Taylor-led New Zealand. Zimbabwe last played a Test in 2014 against Bangladesh — a three-match series which it lost 3-0.
This series will be Graeme Cremer’s first as Zimbabwe’s Test captain, although the leg-spinner has some experience of leading the side in the shorter formats. Hamilton Masakadza, the most experienced Zimbabwean with 29 Tests to his name, and Craig Ervine are expected to play key roles for the host, which is are without Tendai Chatara after the medium-pacer was ruled out of the series due to a niggle in his left ankle sustained during the three-day warm-up game between Zimbabwe A and the New Zealanders at the Harare Sports Club last week.
The International Cricket Council announced on 27th of July 2016 that Muttiah Muralidaran, Karen Rolton, Arthur Morris and George Lohmann will be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame later this year.
Usman Khawaja and Steven Smith extended Australia’s dominance after a fine show by the visiting side’s bowlers, who bowled Sri Lanka out for just 117, before rain had the final say on the opening day of the first Test in Pallekele on Tuesday (July 26).
Australia was 66 for 2 at tea, trailing by 51 runs with Khawaja (25 not out) and Smith (28 not out) involved in an unbroken 59-run third-wicket partnership after it had lost David Warner (0) and Joe Burns (3), the openers, early in the piece. However, there was no play possible in the final session and that remained the score at stumps.